Ex-finance secretary Rajiv Kumar appointed new Election Commissioner after Ashok Lavasa’s resignation

New Delhi: Retired bureaucrat Rajiv Kumar was appointed the Election Commissioner on Friday in place of Ashok Lavasa, who has resigned.

President Ram Nath Kovind cleared Kumar’s appointment with effect from the date of his assuming office. Kumar’s appointment in place of Lavasa will be effective from 31 August.

Kumar, a retired 1984-batch IAS officer of the Jharkhand cadre, will have a five-year tenure and retire in 2025. He is likely to preside over the next Lok Sabha polls in 2024.

According to rules, an election commissioner has six years on the post or till he turns 65, whichever is earlier. Kumar was born in February, 1960.

“In pursuance of clause (2) of Article 324 of the Constitution, the president is pleased to appoint Shri Rajiv Kumar, (IAS retired) as the election commissioner with effect from the date he assumes the office vice Shri Ashok Lavasa, election commissioner who has resigned with effect 31 August,” an official notification of the Ministry of Law and Justice said.

Kumar is currently the chairperson of the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB). His tenure, which started on 29 April, was to end on 28 April 2023.

He had earlier served as the finance secretary from 1 September 2017 to 29 February 2020. He has served the finance ministry and other ministries of the central government since March 2012.

Kumar has been credited with bringing in key reforms in banking and bureaucracy during his stints in the finance and personnel ministries.

He took over as the secretary in the Department of Financial Services in September 2017, when most of the public sector banks, including the State Bank of India, were in losses.

Kumar brought in fundamental changes in the banking sector and played a crucial role in merging 10 public sector banks into four, officials said.

During his two-and-a-half-year stint as the financial services secretary, several policy decisions were taken to promote responsive and responsible banking, they added.

A massive Rs 3 lakh crore recapitalisation of banks was undertaken during Kumar’s tenure.

He was also instrumental in streamlining the promotion and appointments done by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), the officials said.

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